Army Experimentation Strategy: The Network Integration Evaluation and Rapid Acquisition

  • Lieutenant Colonel Glenn A. Dean

The Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) is the centerpiece of current Army efforts for innovation in network capabilities and rapid acquisition processes, but it has been criticized for cost-effectiveness. This study questions the role of the NIE in Army experimentation and its relevance in rapid acquisition. It assesses the strategic context for military experimentation in general and the NIE specifically. It then examines the range of current military experimentation in policy and doctrine, and explores the concepts of divergent and convergent experimentation activities. Alternative rapid acquisition processes are defined and compared to the NIE’s Agile Process. The NIE is then assessed in the context of the range of experimental concepts and rapid acquisition processes to determine what roles it is performing and the extent to which those roles are effective. The study concludes with recommendations for revision of Army experimentation strategy and strategic communication about the NIE itself.